Mailing Tips

Mail it First Class or Standard?
First Class costs more, in some cases about twice as much as Standard. While First Class mail delivers faster, there are some things you can do with Standard mail to rival the delivery time of First Class and still save on postage costs. But be aware that the USPS does not allow certain types of mail to mail First Class – see http://pe.usps.com/text/standardeligibility/ for help in determining if a piece is eligible to go at Standard rates.

What is the piece to mail?
Is it a postcard, a letter or a flat? What you think might be classified as a postcard might actually have to mail as a letter if it is over 4.25” x 6”. And the different types of mail pieces have different minimum and maximum thickness requirements. Here are some particulars to consider:

• Postcard – minimum size is 3.5” x 5”; maximum size is 4.25” x 6”; thickness must be at least 7 pt and at most 16 pt. Postcards can be mailed at a cheaper First Class rate. However, they are limited in the amount of copy you can fit onto the small size.

• Letter – minimum size is 3.5” x 5”; maximum size is 6.125” x 11.5”; thickness must be at least 9 pt and at most .25”. Letters can consist of pieces inserted into an envelope, or can be a folded self-mailer, or can be a”jumbo postcard” that is too large to mail at the postcard rate.

• Flat – minimum size is 6.125” x 11.5”; maximum is 12” x 15”; must be at least 9 pt and at most .75”. While flats typically cost more to produce, one advantage to them is that if your mailing list is dense enough, you can mail them at a very inexpensive Standard Mail DDU rate.

What is NCOA?
NCOA stands for National Change of Address, and all mailers are required to update mail to correct any addresses that have been changed in the past 18 months due to the recipient moving. We perform this service free of charge on any piece that mails from our facility. You will be asked to fill out a Processing Acknowledgement Form (PAF) that is required by the USPS to identify list owners of records that are NCOA’ed.

What is CASS/DPV?
The CASS/DPV process stands for Coding Accuracy Support System and Delivery Point Verification. In a nutshell, the CASS process will standardize your addresses to conform to the USPS regs concerning address formatting, and the DPV process will also confirm that the supplied address is a potentially viable one. For example, if you supply an address for Mr. John Doe at 234 South Park Street in Anytown, USA, but the USPS knows that South Park Street only goes up to 200 in Anytown, then the record will be flagged for deletion. On the other hand, if South Park Street goes up to 300 in Anytown, but that 234 South Park Street is a vacant lot, the record will pass through as is. DPV can not confirm that an address has a specific person or business at that address, it can only confirm the likelihood that the address might exist. In other words, if there is no possibility that the address can exist, the address will be flagged for deletion by the DPV process.

What determines the success of a mail campaign?
According to the, studies have shown that a campaign’s success is follows the 40/40/20 rule – that is, it depends 40% on the list, 40% on the offer, and 20% on the creative aspect of the mailpiece.

• List: The list must be up to date, with good clean addresses, and deduped to the appropriate level. Most importantly, it must consist of the right audience. Modeling your perfect customer and applying that model to the data you need will produce a list of those most likely to act on your offer. In other words, why waste money on mailing a promo for a lawn service to people living in apartments?

• Offer: What is your offer? What is your call to action? This part of the equation is where your marketing and advertising skills come most into play. Don’t waste the cost of a good list on an offer that won’t entice your potential customer to act.

• Creative: This aspect of the campaign involves what the piece looks like. Things such as the use of color, or if the mailpiece is a postcard, insert mailer, or self mailer, are only some of the things to consider. Creating a piece that ties in the offer to a unique creative aspect can tremendously increase your response rate, particularly if you can get the recipient to interact with the piece by using things like integrated cards or labels. Ask us about the many different ways we can make the creative aspect of the piece stand out.

What are the different kinds of de-duping available to me?
Following are the four levels of de-duping we offer, in order from least amount of duplicates removed to the most:

• Exact (will only delete exact duplicates of first name/last name/address). This would allow roommates, husband and wife, or co-workers at the same address to receive the same mail piece, though could also allow multiple pieces to a household if there are different spellings of the same name.

• Near Name/Nickname (will delete duplicates of similar first names but same last name/address). In this case, “James Smith” and “Jim Smith” would be considered a duplicate. This will allow duplicates to same address if full names are different.

• Household (will delete duplicates if last name and address match). In this case, “Jane Doe” and “John Doe” at the same address would be considered a duplicate.

• Basic (will delete duplicates if address matches). This would allow only one piece per address, regardless of name.

How can mail be tracked?
By utilizing IMB (Intelligent Mail Barcodes), we can track your mail as it travels through the USPS system, giving you a heads up so you can staff your call center at the right time, or just to give you piece of mind that your mail has actually arrived at its intended destination.

What is EDDM?
EDDM stands for Every Door Direct Mail, and it’s a fairly new offering by the USPS for mailing piece to very centralized locality at a very good postage rate. EDDM uses a simplified address (meaning no name or street is in the address, only “occupant” or similar language) and not only saves postage, but saves you the cost of purchasing a mail list. It works best for very localized mailers, like a piece announcing the opening of a new local restaurant. MAR Graphics can take care of all the details of doing an EDDM mailer, but you can get more specific information from the USPS at https://eddm.usps.com/eddm/.

What is Customized MarketMail?
The USPS has a program to allow for odd-shaped pieces that stand out from other pieces. Studies have shown that response rates soar when using this type of mailing, and we can do it for you. For more information, see what the USPS has to say about it at https://www.usps.com/business/customized-market-mail.htm.

How can I take advantage of the USPS’s Full Service discounts?
First off, you need to use a mail provider that has been approved by the USPS to do Full Service mailings. While the Full Service discount may not be very significant ($.001 per piece for Standard Mail and $.003 per piece for First Class Mail), it does offer free ACS (Address Correction Service). More importantly, the USPS is going to require the use of Full Service in order to qualify for any automation mail discounts, so at that point you will need a mail provider who can do Full Service presorts.

Postnet is retired as of January 1, 2013.
And if you aren’t using the IMB (Intelligent Mail Barcode), you are way behind the times. The IMB allows the USPS to encode much more information on each mailpiece, and streamlines some processes and brings greater efficiencies to the USPS.